Greatest Teacher

I understand now

Why those wiser

Than I have said,

The one who causes you the

Most distress is

Your greatest teacher.

I resisted, at first.

New-age, hippy

Bullshit.

Pollyanna.

Fuck you, Pema (1).

You didn’t even

Raise your own children—

True story.


As I sit

Bearing witness, feeling

The intensity of our conflict

Inside this body,

I’m in awe

Of what it means

To be alive.

But still,

To the divine

I retort:

“You're fucking welcome.”

And,

“Are you entertained?”


And, once I've exhausted

My smallness,

My ordinary human

Complaints:


“Thank you.”


Struck still and

Wordlessness,

Now I’m holding

This breath

With

Thoughtless appreciation—

For the depth of love,

And pain,

And grief,

That’s possible.


Boundless,

And contained

Within the bounds

Of this body.


(1) Reference to Pema Chodron, a well-known Western Buddhist teacher and author of popular spiritual and self-help books, most notably, When Things Fall Apart.